Nowadays, finding time to hit the gym in between pleasing your boss, meeting targets and raising the kids, is certainly no mean feat to achieve. Fortunately, there is a myriad of quality indoor gym equipment designed for the sole purpose of allowing you to stay fit and healthy, from the comfort of your home. Topping the list of essential home training equipment are elliptical trainers and according to health experts, they rank among the best multi-purpose trainers across the board, mainly due to their distinct ability to work out both the upper and lower body concurrently.
Elliptical trainers have been around for years now, and ardent workout enthusiasts have probably come across these popular gym fixtures, at the local fitness facility – for good reason. Wondering why you should stop jogging and invest your hard-earned cash in one of these? Well, according to experts, they basically simulate jogging in every aspect possible, only that they are devoid of wearing and tearing of the joints.
In a nutshell, jogging is good – for your wallet – but elliptical trainers are simply better in whichever angle you choose to look at it from. Fret not though, as you need not have a ballooning bank account to get your hands on one of these babies. There is an elliptical trainer for every budget as we will see later on, but before we do, though, let’s have a look at the vital features that combine to make up for a quality elliptical trainer.
The Ultimate Elliptical Trainer Buyer’s Guide:
Just like most gym equipment, elliptical trainers don’t come cheap. That’s why it is of paramount importance to have a basic idea of the key features that make up a good trainer, so as to avoid lamenting in the future. When out shopping for one of these, the most important factor to focus on is the drive system. The long and short of it is that the drive system and comprehensive engineering entailed will determine whether or not the prospective machine will help you achieve your goals.
Secondly, a good elliptical trainer should work seamlessly and fluidly without any noises whatsoever especially when in motion. Be quick to steer off any trainer with squeaks and other funny noises, as this is an indication of a nightmare experience when switching intensity levels.
Finally, keep in mind that the most important thing overall is to find a trainer that’s easy to operate and feels good during workouts. Most people tend to get carried away by side shows such as after sales incentives in the name of lifetime warranties for instance. While this is important, of what use is it if you won’t be using the machine enough to break it in the first place? Now that that’s out of the way let’s delve on the best elliptical trainers under all budgets.
The Best Elliptical Machines Under All Budgets:
Our Pick for the Best Trainer Overall – The Precor EFX 835 Commercial Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer – $7,500:
Elliptical trainers have come a long way if the recent technological features entailed in tweaked versions are anything to go by. If your main goal is to find a modern, effective machine with all the right specs to help you meet your health goals regardless of price, the Precor EFX 835 is certainly your safest bet. True, it may seem quite expensive for most, but its long-term benefits will supersede every penny on its price tag eventually. Lately, this trainer has grown to become a common fixture in most high-end training facilities partly thanks to its superior engineering and partly, to its perfect combination of innovative features that act as a benchmark in the industry. That said, let’s have a look at why it is widely regarded as the best elliptical trainer on the market and not surprisingly, the top spot on our list.
The Specs and Features:
Exclusive CrossRamp Technology – most elliptical trainers on the market come pre-adjusted which to some extent means that you are somewhat limited during training. The EFX 835 though, packs an exclusive CrossRamp technology that allows the user to adjust the height of the elliptical path your foot travels; how cool is that! With this amazing feature, you can choose to either work on specific muscle groups in your legs or better yet, all the lower body’s muscle groups if you so wish.
EFX Motion Biomechanics – workouts aren’t meant to be comfortable – another adage that this elliptical trainer seems to rule out. In fact, it packs a swift, patented low-impact EFX motion which is fluid and smooth enough to get all other elliptical trainers’ manufacturers back to the drawing board. The natural motion allows the user’s heels to remain in direct contact with the foot pedals, hence significantly reducing the stress exerted on the muscles and tendons.
High-Quality LED Display – you are probably thinking that there is nothing new about consoles on elliptical trainers and you are right, but this one is quite different. The streamlined LED display boasts a numeric keypad with 15 preset programs to get the most out of every workout session. Moreover, you can choose from seven languages besides 20 different resistance levels all at the touch of a button. Other essential metrics displayed include calories burnt per minute, distance, strides per minute, heart rate, average speed, your workout profile, workout summary and CrossRamp angle among other helpful metrics.
- The trainer comes complete with ergonomic adjustable handlebars designed to let you condition and tone your entire body in fluid fashion and while most elliptical machines bear this feature, the EFX 835 is exceptionally smooth and comfortable compared to any other in its realms; that is if there is any in the first place.
- As stated earlier, side shows such as lifetime warranties shouldn’t have a top spot on your list of priorities , but being one of the best on the market, it is paramount to state that the Precor product comes complete with a lifetime warranty on the frame, 10 years on the parts and a year on labor. That just goes to prove how durable, it really is.
- Mobility is a primary factor to consider when out shopping for any training equipment and therefore worth a mention is the fact that the EFX 835 sports integrated transport wheels to make it easier for you to move from one place to another. For safe measure, they also sneaked in an accessories holder to store your varying workout accessories such as water.
Just like we did, you likely would be hard-pressed to find any flaws with this “complete” machine. The only thing that some will find hard to swallow is the eye-popping price tag, but that said, what else can you expect from an equipment of its caliber?
Overall, Precor made sure that the EFX 835 would be a game-changer in all aspects from day one and going by the superior engineering and work put into it, they managed to achieve that. If the price doesn’t rank high on your list of priorities, this is certainly the elliptical trainer you have been yearning.
Our Pick for the Best Elliptical Trainer Under $1500 – The Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine – $1100:
Sole Fitness is widely renowned for producing some of the best mid-range trainers on the market and the E35 just goes to prove that indeed, its popularity is not by fluke. In its class, the all-rounded trainer virtually topped every category we tested it. Though the price may not be what most health enthusiasts would want, it reflects great value for money. Let’s have an in-depth look at whether, really, it’s worth its salt.
The Specs and Features:
Myriad of Resistance Levels to Choose From – the Sole Fitness E35, sports ten different resistance levels which are more than enough to get you shape in real time. The superior engineering mechanism adopted by Sole Fitness entails quality flywheels driven by solid electromagnets for frictionless resistance and smooth transitioning; when elevating to other resistance levels.
Component Mobility – as a rule of thumb, if you can find a gym equipment that allows you to customize the features to match your preference – cling to it. The E35 is one of them – Sole Fitness threw in adjustable components, including the stride length, which can be adjusted from 20 to 22 inches to increase intensity. Not only this, you also get to articulate the pedal’s inclination – a plus for those with flat feet.
Home-Friendly – the E35 simply distinguish itself from the pack because if its dynamic and comprehensive nature. The fact that it can be adjusted to fit the needs of every family member at home gives it an edge. For instance, the LCD panel installed to display essential metrics can be adjusted to the user’s eye level for the convenient measure. The handle bar has thoughtfully placed buttons designed to switch resistance levels without having to pause your workout.
The main edge the E35 has over other trainers in its price range is its flexibility and convenience. The customizable features and components are not standard in all elliptical trainers. In a nutshell, it allows you to tailor your workout sessions for optimal benefits.
With most elliptical trainers, you are limited to just a few intensity levels – which acts as a hindrance to those thinking about going pro. The E35 though packs ten different resistance levels besides the fact you are allowed to change the inclination up to 30 degrees. This combined with its customizable features make up for a very detailed piece of machinery overall.
The only fault we could lay on the Fitness Pro product was its bulky 215 pounds, which is quite heavy for the normal soccer mum. However, what it lacks in mobility, it makes up for in quality.
We finally concluded that in its price range, the E35 is certainly up there with few serious competitors. If you are seeking a quality mid-range elliptical machine that will serve you optimally regardless of what you throw at it, this is a wise investment by all means.
Our Pick for the Best Elliptical Trainer Under 1000 – The ProForm 9.0 NE Elliptical Trainer:
With the 9.0, it somehow feels like you have a personal trainer right there with you, only without the costs pegged to having one – yes, it is that good. The distinctive factor that sets it apart from those in its class is its technological twist that includes 28 great workout apps, 14-speed programs, and 14 effective calorie programs. Let’s go in depth to have a look at its key features, shall we?
The Specs and Features:
Modern Display – The thoughtful tablet holder and display monitor are great features that set a trend in modern elliptical machines. With this, you can choose from a whopping 28 different workout programs or better yet, connect to iFit for a detailed workout profile.
Customizable – like all good elliptical trainers such as those before this, it boasts adjustable components that allow the user to tailor the height of the strides from 20 inches. This not only makes it comfortable but user-friendly as well in that most, if not all family members can enjoy it by adjusting the components to match their needs.
With most trainers, you get to figure out “which part goes where ” all by yourself. Fortunately, the 9.0 comes pre-assembled meaning you need not fret over bringing the machine to life.
For a trainer in its class, it is safe to say that the 22 resistance levels it boasts are quite impressive. Usually, you get a few levels, such as the popular 10, which can be limiting to some extent. For safe measure, ProForm decided to throw in a cooling fan, just in case it gets intense.
Unfortunately, the backlit monitor display is not what you would expect from such a futuristic trainer of its caliber. It is good that they thought of the tablet holder to keep you plugged into detail during workouts.
The ProForm 9.0 is simply an affordable and reliable trainer that you can bet on, to help you achieve your health goals in due time. In fact, all you have to do is hop on it and start working it out to save on time.
Our Pick for the Best Elliptical Trainers Under $500 –
1. The Scwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer:
If all you are looking for is an affordable and easy-to-use elliptical trainer to get you started, but on a budget, it would be in your best interest to check out the A40 from a respected brand – Schwinn. Unlike what you think, it is not bad by any means and in fact, offers more than you bargain for it. In a nutshell, it is a basic, well-built trainer that features all the essentials you need. Here is an in-depth look at some of its key features.
The Specs and Features:
Quality System Mechanism – the A40 adopts a magnetic Eddy Current Brake resistance system driven by a perimeter weighted flywheel – built to last. The mechanism not only facilitates smooth and quiet workout sessions, but also flawless transition to preferred resistance levels.
Adjustable Resistance – unlike most basic elliptical machines, the A40 allows the user to choose from 8 different levels of resistance. This is more than enough for those looking to get back into shape after a lengthy sabbatical from the gym.
Multi-Function LCD – just because an elliptical trainer is affordable doesn’t necessarily mean it has to trim all the goodies. The A40 comes packed with a helpful screen monitor that displays eight basic workout readouts alongside six workout programs.
At its price, it is quite packed which is technically the main edge it has over other trainers in its league. The monitor display and eight resistance levels are great features by all standards, and for it to include them into one affordable package is simply amazing.
At 275 pounds, the product by Schwinn is really light and mobile. Scooting it from the living room to the garage shouldn’t be a hassle even after a long day. The main idea is to simply find an effective machine, with all the right features to help you attain your goals, right?
If you are looking for an elliptical trainer with all the fancy gadgets such as LED monitors and adjustable stride height, this is not the place to look. However, what else can you expect from a machine in its price range?
In a nutshell, this is the ideal machine fro those making a debut in elliptical training machines. It basically strikes the perfect combination of simplicity and affordability, more so for those on a budget.
2. The Gold’s Gym Stride Trainer 410 Elliptical –
The Stride Trainer is a popular fixture in local health facilities thanks to a number of paramount features such as the 12 resistance levels. This is one of the few elliptical trainers in its class, built with adjustable components for enhanced comfort and technicality. The equipment also packs a console with a convenient display to enlighten you on essential metrics, including calories burnt, distance covered, time taken and pulse rate among others. To put this into better perspective, lets have a look at the features adopted in the Gym Stride Trainer.
The Specs and Features:
Adjustable Pedals – as you may have known by now, adjustable components in any elliptical trainer are a plus by all means and the fact that you can adjust the pedals to match your foot’s shape is simply quite thoughtful.
Inbuilt Speakers – working out to your favorite music playing in the background can be quite refreshing. Knowing this, the manufacturer decided to throw in an iPod compatible music port and wait for it…built-in speakers to cap it. That to me is a deal-breaker in itself.
The thing with this fitness equipment is that you don’t have to strain financially just to get quality features. The price has to be the most beneficial aspect of owning it, and in a nutshell, reflects great value for money at slightly below $500.
The 250 pound beast with a stride length of 18” has to be one of the most durable elliptical trainers on the market. It basically can withstand anything you throw at it during the workout and thus explaining its popularity in fitness centers.
The only problem I had with the Gold’s Gym Stride Trainer is the fact that it doesn’t allow you to adjust the stride height. Other than this, it is a solid trainer capable of withstanding the most intense workout sessions.
In a nutshell, this is an affordable elliptical trainer that doesn’t compromise on quality by all standards. You have equipment that offers a whopping 12 levels of resistance – what more could you ask for?
3. The Bladez E300 Elliptical Trainer:
If you are on a budget and looking for a fitness equipment to save you from the weight issues constantly haunting you, it would be in your best interest to check out the E300 by Bladez. It is a compact sized beast that weighs around 275 pounds – ideal for soccer moms – and packs a 14-pound flywheel to complement the drive system. Oh, did I mention that it costs slightly under $300? Here are some of the key features entailed in the machine.
The Specs and Features:
Transport Wheels – it may not seem important, but a mobile elliptical trainer that can be easily scooted around may just be what you need to get out of your “exercise sabbatical.” The E300 features innovative transport wheels which make it easy to move around from the storage area, into your living room.
23 Inbuilt Workout Programs – the convenient console allows you to choose from 23 different workout programs, to help you attain your goals in record time. While most come with inbuilt workout programs, 23 is quite impressive, to say the least.
The best part about owning this trainer is that it allows you to choose from 16 different resistance levels. Now, for an elliptical trainer in its price range, this is more than enough to get you on track and even pumped after a while.
The price is certainly another factor that makes the E300 so appealing. It boasts some amazing features that are a rarity in its price range, and yet, still manage to remain simplistic and very user-friendly.
The machine certainly has a lot going for it, but unfortunately, it is limited to a stride height of only 14” which can provide a challenge for some.
True, the E300 may not have sophisticated features such as a heart-rate monitor or perhaps, a fancy console with catchy displays. However, its price is hard to beat, and this is not to mention the lifetime warranty on the magnet and frame; issued on purchase.
Wrapping it Up:
The above elliptical trainers just scratch the surface on the available models and brands. That said, the above equipment can be relied upon to offer the best workout sessions and experiences, for numerous years. To sum it up, they are the cream of the crop in their category.